Cancer Prevention in Small Business Workers

Cancer prevention for working class, multiethnic populations through small businesses: the healthy directions study

Mary K. Hunt Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Center for Community-Based Research, 44 Binney Street, Boston MA 02115, USA; Ph.colon; +1-617-632-2181; Fax +1-617-632-1999; E-mail: mkhunt@cox.net

Anne M. Stoddard Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst MA, USA

Elizabeth Barbeau Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Center for Community-Based Research, 44 Binney Street, Boston MA 02115, USA; Department of Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston MA, USA

Roberta Goldman Department of Family Medicine, Brown School of Medicine, Providence RI, USA

Lorraine Wallace Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Center for Community-Based Research, 44 Binney Street, Boston MA 02115, USA

Caitlin Gutheil Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Center for Community-Based Research, 44 Binney Street, Boston MA 02115, USA

Glorian Sorensen Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Center for Community-Based Research, 44 Binney Street, Boston MA 02115, USA; Department of Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston MA, USA

Abstract

Objective: We report demographic and social contextual characteristics of multiethnic, blue-collar workers from the baseline survey of a study conducted in 24 small businesses. We discuss ways in which we incorporated these characteristics into the design of the intervention.

Methods: We used a randomized controled design, with 12 small businesses assigned to a social contextual intervention and 12 to a minimum intervention control condition. The response rates to the survey were 84% at baseline (n = 1717).

Primary outcomes included reduction in red meat consumption and increase in physical activity and daily multivitamin intake. Secondary outcomes targeted reduction in smoking and occupational exposures.

Results: The majority of the respondents were male (67.6%). This was an ethnically diverse sample with 24.7% representing racial/ethnic groups other than white and 43.6% of participants or their parents born outside of the US.

To meet study recommendations, workers needed improvement in all behaviors measured. Participants reported a smoking rate of 25.8, 86.2% ate fewer than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day 69.5% ate more than three servings of red meat a week, 46.8% engaged in less than 2.5h a week of exercise and 72.4% reported that they did not consume a daily multivitamin.

Conclusions: Interventions that address the contextual environment in which health behaviors occur, may provide a method that researchers and practitioners can use to reduce health disparities.

Cancer Causes and Control 14 (8): 749-760, October 2003


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